Summer doesn’t arrive in my world until the proliferation of day lilies says so. When I was a kid, the old-fashioned ditch lily was one of the first to appear in the spring and summer months. Even in those days, I looked forward to the time when the flowers bloomed. The primary reason was that the rituals of school at St. Paul’s was a distant memory. That meant I could concentrate on Kool-Aid sales to the local construction workers and mowing neighbors yards to earn spending money. Summer meant gathering up enough neighbor kids for sand-lot baseball and basketball games or simply riding bikes around the neighborhood. Year after year I “applied” for work at Gagels’ farm. I volunteered to walk beans, detassle corn, help pick produce, anything to earn an income. Riding bikes with Steve McCauley up and down Lower Hunters Trace Road was a full-blown summer “job” as well. Collecting discarded pop bottles from the ditches along the road to cash in at the local convenience store for the deposit money. Our daily journey ended at the intersection where Lower Hunters Trace met up with Dixie Highway. There was an A & W Root Beer stand across Dixie Highway, where Steve and I spent the days “take” on the ever cherished root beer float! Riding on either side of the narrow road TOWARDS the A & W, I never really noticed the orange flowers in the ditches. Our eyes were trained on finding those cherished bottles! However, I always noticed and gave attention to the flowers as we peddled home.
As flowers go, the orange day lily doesn’t get much respect. And because they are so hardy, they’ve been regarded as a common pest–a weed if you will. They survive and thrive throughout the country in empty lots, abandoned gardens, in alleys, cemeteries, along roads, train tracks and people’s yards. With its orange flowers, I always loved the way they seemed to glow brilliantly as the sun rose or set on them. The light magnified their beauty. Many years ago the house I’m in, had been sitting empty for a year. The yard had been neglected and it was obvious the previous owners weren’t much for landscaping. There was an overgrown lilac bush along the back fence and a raspberry patch in the Northwest corner of the yard. The first summer I was here, I lined the perimeter of the deck and bordered the shed walls with an abundance of day lilies. I didn’t know they were as common as crabgrass but I still loved them because I viewed them as a tall and elegant flower. AND, I was told they’d grow anywhere! What I didn’t know, was that they’d over run the yard! Even though I always felt that each flower was a work of art, there came the day when the lilies had to go. I hauled barrels and buckets of lilies out of here until I was satisfied there were none remaining.
A few summers ago I laughed. Some of the stubbornly remaining day lilies had reappeared UNDER my deck. Since I am one of those “there’s a reason for everything” kinds of people, I decided these volunteers would be allowed to come out of the shade of the deck, and into the new garden along the shed. When the sun bathes them, the contrast of the orange against the walls of the shed is inspiring to me. Lilies are blooming around my yard again, but in a more controlled atmosphere! I have been diligently snapping pictures for later paintings and drawings and even when I’m walking around the yard, I still stop to admire the tenacity of the ditch lily.
I designed this print to be ordered as large as 69 x 52. However, end-result quality is of the utmost importance. As a result, in the 47 x 35 size, the quality is maintained and I am well satisfied with the results. The piece is also available in Greeting Card, and Post Card formats! Approval for the USPS First Class Postage Stamps is pending.